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Beaune-la-Rolande (Municipality, Loiret, France)

Last modified: 2021-04-10 by ivan sache
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Flag of Beaune-la-Rolande - Image by Olivier Touzeau, 14 January 2021

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Presentation of Beaune-la-Rolande

The municipality of Beaune-la-Rolande (2,015 inhabitants in 2018; 2,055 ha; municipal website) is located 40 km of Orléans.

Beaune-la-Rolande was first mentioned on 22 January 832, as Belna, in a donation made by the local lord Roland to the St. Denis Royal abbey. The place name probably refers to Belenos, the Celtic sun god (~ Apollo). The donation charter states that the town would offer every year 14,000 liter wine to the abbey. In the Middle Ages, wines from Beaune-la-Rolande were served to kings Philip I Augustus and St. Louis. In 1830, 589 hectares were grown with grapevine; after the phylloxera crisis, only 32 hectares were left in 1918.
The town was subsequently recorded as Beaune la Rollant (1280), Beaune la Rolande (1325), Beaulne (1581 and 1582), Beaulne en Gastinois (1561) and Beaune en Gâtinois (1729). The name of the town was eventually fixed by a Royal Ordinance issued on 17 August 1823.
Deemed not profitable, the town was progressively abandoned by the abbey; in 1121, Abbot Suger the Great restored the town and erected the church's fortified gate surmounted by a primitive tower. Ruined by the Hundred Years' War (1347-1453) and the Wars of Religion (1562-1598), the abbey sold in 1598 Beaune-la-Rolande to Knight Achille de Harlay, King's Councillor and First President at the Paris Parliament; the town was incorporated to the County, then Duchy of Beaumont-en-Gâtinais. In 1717, the domain was transferred by marriage to the Montmorency-Luxembourg lineage, During the French Revolution, it was confiscated from Anne-Christian de Montmorency-Luxembourg, Prince of Tingry.

The painter Frédéric Bazille (1841-1870), a close friend of Claude Monet who portrayed him in Le déjeuner sur l'herbe (1863), enrolled himself in 1870 in a Zouave regiment, considered as the most exposed component of infantry. The painter Auguste Renoir said that Bazille had chosen the only regiment where men were allowed to keep their beard. Incorporated to the 20th Corps commanded by General Crouzet, Bazille was killed on 27 November 1870 during the attack of the cemetery of Beaune-la-Rolande. With the help of Vicar Amédée Cornet, Senator Gaston Bazille found his son's body on 7 December on the battlefield. As a reward for the priest's support, he offered to the parish church a painting made by his son around 1863, Le mariage mystique de Sainte-Catherine. He also acquired a small plot on the former battlefield where he erected a monument dedicated to his son. After his death in 1897, Frédéric's brother, Marx, offered the monument to the municipality of Beaune-la-Rolande.

The camp of Beaune-la-Rolande was established in 1938 by the French authorities on the municipal stadium. Composed of Adrian huts, the camp was expected to house French people evacuated from the borders with Germany. On 18 June 1940, the camp was indeed "inaugurated" by French prisoners, whose number increased up to 22,000. Increased, the camp was subsequently used to intern Jews, who were first allow to work in neighboring farms. On 4 October 1940, the first convoy left the railway station of Beaune for German camps. In 1941, more than 2,000 Jews were interned in the camp. After several prisoners had escaped, helped by mayor Paul Cabanis (1892-1944), the hospital's nuns and inhabitants of the village, the prisoners were no longer allowed to leave the camp.
In July and August 1942, more than 3,000 Jews arrested in Paris were jailed in Beaune-la-Rolande, Jargeau and Pithiviers, and subsequently transferred to Auschwitz. In March 1943, another 1,200 Jews were transferred from Drancy.
Closed in 1943, the camp was demolished in 1947.

Olivier Touzeau & Ivan Sache, 31 March 2021

Flag of Beaune-la-Rolande

The flag of Beaune-la-Rolande (photo, photo) is white with the municipal coat of arms, "Argent a cinquefoil gules".
The arms were officially adopted on 11 November 1961 by the Municipal Council. The cinquefoil was featured on the arms of the de Beaulne family in the 13th century.
[Municipal website]

Olivier Touzeau & Ivan Sache, 31 March 2021